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Jacob Ford wants to see another gritty display by Bury St Edmunds at Leicester Lions this weekend to break their away-day duck



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Last weekend's 16-9 attritional home win over Barnstaple may not live long in the memory of the Haberden faithful but Jacob Ford wants a repeat performance from Bury St Edmunds at Leicester Lions on Saturday (3pm) to cure their away-day blues.

The Wolfpack sit eighth in the National League 2 South table after making it three victories from as many games on home soil, while there have been two defeats from two on the road.

But head coach and director of rugby Ford believes they have now struck upon a formula that will break that win-lose cycle to ignite their season.

Bury St Edmunds head coach Jacob Ford was pleased to see his players show plenty of fight during Saturday's match with Barnstaple Picture: Mark Westley
Bury St Edmunds head coach Jacob Ford was pleased to see his players show plenty of fight during Saturday's match with Barnstaple Picture: Mark Westley

On a wet and windy day where free-flowing rugby was not possible they proved to have the stomach for the fight as well as the ability to make the most of limited chances to grind out a win.

After trading early penalties it was a smart kick mid-way through the first half which sent Ciaran Leeson away for Bury’s opening try and a 8-6 interval lead.

Player-coach Ben Cooper then had the power to push his way over from a pick and drive seven minutes from time to edge the hosts into a seven-point lead.

Bury St Edmunds captain Matt Bursey makes life tough for Barnstaple’s players Picture: Mark Westley
Bury St Edmunds captain Matt Bursey makes life tough for Barnstaple’s players Picture: Mark Westley

It was then a backs-to-the-wall finale which earned the victory against their spirited north Devon opponents to ensure they bounced back from the last-gasp defeat at Dings Crusaders.

Ford, who admitted the coaches had already ‘stripped back’ Bury’s approach in training, said: “That commitment that we showed to win the game is what we are about now and it is fantastic, it really is and it puts a smile on my face because those are the building blocks and foundations for us to build on now.

“I am looking forward to next week doing it again away from home, I think that is a big one for us.

“It is about being as committed as we were today. And I think if we are and we turn up and show that fight that we showed then we are always going to be in with a chance of winning that game.”

Shaq Meyers comes close to getting a try for Bury St Edmunds against Barnstaple on Saturday Picture: Mark Westley
Shaq Meyers comes close to getting a try for Bury St Edmunds against Barnstaple on Saturday Picture: Mark Westley

Ford welcomed back winger Freddie Roddick from his time away with Great Britain 7s while new signing from Jake Campey, from the head coach’s former team Westcliff, was handed a home debut at centre. There was also a place on the bench for former captain Will Affleck following a long injury lay-off.

The difficult conditions, with the wind driving diagonally across the pitch, was immediately evident as Barnstaple’s kick-off flew off the pitch before an early Bury penalty kick from Charlie Reed ended up pulling wide of the posts.

But after the visitors had replied to a successful Reed kick with two of their own it was a clever bit of kicking vision from srcum-half Chris Bolton which sent Leeson darting through to score. Reed’s conversion bounced back off the posts for the first time of two occasions.

Charlie Reed kicks for points for Bury St Edmunds in the testing conditions Picture: Mark Westley
Charlie Reed kicks for points for Bury St Edmunds in the testing conditions Picture: Mark Westley

While Barnstaple were guilty of not taking their chances in the second half Bury came up with the goods at just the right time.

The forwards came close from a pick-and-drive following a lineout in the 73rd minute before the ball was brought back for a penalty. Cam Greenhall tapped it before Cooper drove over from close-range.

The visitors were inside Bury’s 22 in the final few minutes but the defence held firm for what could prove to be a turning point in their season.

Bury St Edmunds: 15 Reed 14 Roddick 13 Campey 13 Penfold 11 Leeson 10 Greenhall 9 Bolton 1 Hill 2 McCartney 3 Cooper 4 Green 5 Grigg-Pettitt 6 Bursey (c) 7 Meyers 8 Watson. Replacements: Kingdon, Jeffrey, Browne, Affleck, Kharbouch.

Read more: All the latest Suffolk sport

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